Wayne Howe opts out of ANwSU superintendent search

VERGENNES — Longtime Addison Central School Principal Wayne Howe, who has also served during this school year as the part-time Addison Northwest Supervisory Union assistant superintendent, said late last week that he has taken a job elsewhere and withdrew from consideration as the new ANwSU superintendent.
Howe’s decision, first made public in a Feb. 7 email to ANwSU staff members, predated this Tuesday’s announcement by the ANwSU superintendent search committee that it had identified two finalists for the job (see story, this page).
On Monday, Howe confirmed he had accepted an offer to become the principal of the 300-student Northfield Elementary School.
He said he was interested in the ANwSU superintendency, but could not afford to wait until that process unfolded to seek his next career move, especially with this being the time of year school districts seek to fill their openings.
“A lot of it had to do with timing. And I hit the ground running once the season opened up,” Howe said, adding that the ANwSU superintendent “search process was broad enough that I felt I needed to look at some other opportunities.”
Both Howe and ANwSU Superintendent Tom O’Brien, who will step down in July after 13 years, said Howe’s decision to look elsewhere was tied to the ANwSU board’s decision to cast a wider net rather than simply consider Howe.
O’Brien said he suggested the board look within toward Howe, especially considering the at least 16 school superintendencies that are projected to be vacant this summer.
“I recommended that we hire from within. That had been my recommendation from the get-go,” O’Brien said, adding that Howe had little choice when the board “opted to go and do a broader search.”
“It wasn’t clear to Wayne that he would or wouldn’t be selected, and an opportunity came up in that period of time that he had a hard time saying no to,” O’Brien said. “He couldn’t afford not to have a job.”
Howe, who will commute east to Northfield from his Jericho home instead of south to Vergennes and Addison, said he would have been happy to stay at ANwSU under different circumstances.
“I was disappointed that it didn’t work out,” he said. “But they had to do their due diligence.”
Howe hinted he could move up the ladder in his new school district.
“I could very well envision that,” he said. “There have been discussions about other opportunities that might arise over in central Vermont.”
O’Brien would not be surprised to hear of that occurring.
“I don’t think he’s going to forget the fact he might want to be a superintendent,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien also said Howe had done excellent work in Addison and in his ANwSU role.
“He is and has been a valuable asset across the district, and I will miss working with him,” he said.
In his email, Howe said he was thankful for his decade-plus at Addison Central and ANwSU and to those who encouraged him to seek the superintendency.
“I’ve enjoyed working at ANwSU and am grateful for the opportunity to have served as assistant superintendent,” he said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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